A 5'3 Perspective


A Givenchy Product Review

I haven’t done a mascara review in quite a while – reason being that I have actually been extremely happy with YSL Shocking. But, all good things must come to an end, and when I finished my last tube of Shocking I promised myself I would try something new. I used to like Givenchy’s Phenomen’Eyes Mascara [you know the one that looked like a pom pom] the formula was great, but I found that it took quite a long time to build up enough coverage with that tiny brush – and I have little patience. Recently Givenchy developed a new mascara, using a brush similar to Phenomen’Eyes, but with three pom poms instead of one – which seems like it would paint your lashes much quicker. Obviously I was lusting after this item, and probably even more obviously – I went out and bought it [I’m a mascara addict – I admit it].

Givenchy Noir Couture

Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Mascara

The only negative comment I have about Givenchy Noir Couture is that it isn’t waterproof – otherwise this mascara is great. It doesn’t seem to flake much at all and it really lengthens and separates my lashes. I bought the black satin, but it also comes in brown if you want a more subtle look.

Here is a before and after comparison. I did not curl my eyelashes and I used two coats of mascara – this is my usual routine.

Before [tired eyes]


In case you wanted to see how the Noir Couture compares to Shocking, here is a photo.


YSL Shocking Mascara

The lighting is vastly different between the two pictures but I actually think the Givenchy give my lashes more length and thickness. I still love the YSl but I think I have found a new favourite mascara!


1 Comment

Manicure Monday – Illamasqua Rubber Finish Review

If you saw my post on Friday you probably guessed that I went out and bought a few products on my lust list. You’re right, I was dying to try the Illamasqua Rubber Finish Nail Varnish. After much deliberation, I chose devotee – a limited edition candy pink – not my typical colour palate!

Illamasqua has made quite a splash in the beauty industry, launched in November 2008, it has already become a cult [Bristish] Beauty Brand. The brand has an amazing personality – to be honest, the tagline “make-up for your alter ego” had me sold! Illamasqua defines it’s heritage as:

“…the product of a heady mix of influences. Its roots stem from the dark and illicit 1920s club scene, and combine a rich heritage in the manufacture of make-up for film and theatre. It also takes inspiration from members of the ‘alternative scenes’ for whom self-expression is paramount. Alternative cultures have always dared to be dramatic. They have an emotional attachment to making up. It’s an expression of their darker side, a release for their alter ego.

Illamasqua is for the bolder person hiding inside all of us. It is an act and an attitude. A symbol of tolerance. A celebration of idiosyncrasies. A confident statement of self-ownership.”


If you visit the Illamasqua website, you will be overwhelmed by all there is to see – there are tutorials, how tos, product reviews, picture galleries – and that just scratches the surface. I love that the brand puts so much effort into pleasing their customers. Before even opening the lovely package – I was already feeling quite positive about the product.

Illamasqua Rubber Finish Nail Varnish in Devotee

First glimpse of the polish out of the box! I love that they use a product insert to talk about the brand!

After a coat of matte nail envy to prime my nail, I was ready to test the polish. The formula was great – it went on very smooth and surprisingly dried very quickly, even though I painted thick layers. After two coats, here are the results.

Loving the colour!

I wanted to get a close up of my nails to try to show you the texture of the polish. It does have a rubbery feel and its seems more resistant than generic polish to chips and nicks – mind you, I have only had it on for a day – but so far so good! The finish is matte and would probably look better with a third coat but I still love the look and feel with only two. The colour is so vibrant – it looks exactly the same on your nails as it does in the bottle! I didn’t use a top coat because I wanted to see how the polish will hold up without it – and I really liked the matte finish.

Close up – pardon the awful cuticles.

Verdict is in. I love Illamasqua Rubber Finish Nail Varnish and I will absolutely be buying more – the rich colours are great! I highly recommend this polish – it is just different enough to keep things exciting!

Leave a comment

Fabulous Finds Friday plus an Ottawa Event!

We made it! Another work week under the belt – NOW GO ENJOY YOUR WEEKEND! But before you go, here are a few beauty products that I have been lusting after. Let me know if you have tried any!
If you are in the Ottawa area, this weekend is an exciting one. Saturday marks the inauguration of Nuit Blanche in the city! I can’t wait to attend some of the exhibits and I am so pleased that Ottawa has jumped on board with this fun event! Even if you aren’t an art buff – it is a lot of fun to roam the streets and take in the excitement. The festival begins at 6:22 pm Saturday September 22 and will conclude at 4:23 am Sunday September 23.  For more information visit: http://nuitblancheottawa.ca/
I hope to run into some of you at Nuit Blanche Ottawa – probably in the wee hours of the morning! Have a great weekend!


The Dos and Don’ts of Scoring Chic Vintage Pieces – Guest Post

I am so excited about today’s post! This is my first ever guest post on the blog – written by the Queen of Vintage herself, my best friend Sarah [I wish she would write a blog so I could share it with you guys – but until then I am going to keep hounding her to post here]. Sarah and I have been friends since second year university and there isn’t a day that goes by where I am not in awe of her amazing style and clever comments. She is one of the smartest, funniest, most beautiful people I know and I am so grateful to have her in my life. She always inspires me to try new things, especially when it comes to style and hopefully she will do the same for you.

I can’t wait for you to read on because I know you will fall in love with her! Without further ado – welcome to the world of vintage through the eyes of Sarah.

Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Vintage inspiration happens more than you may notice in the world of fashion. The ubiquitous Gucci silk jumpsuit of Spring ’11, which was covered on several global titles and rocked by Olivia Wilde, Chanel Iman, and Camilla Belle to name a few, takes a nod from this little number circa 1953. A gorgeous vintage reference that works as a modern take!

I must admit, a little smirk always takes shape on my face when someone asks me “Where did you get that?! It’s vintage, right?” and I’m able to reply, ‘Why yes girl of course…and it was $30’ (although sometimes it’s more like tricked you, Forever 21 but thanks for noticing, or don’t even ask me what I paid!).

The old song and dance I always get is ‘only you could pull that off!’ which is either code for I’m looking fabulous or tragic. I’ll take the former and the compliment, but many people express to me they find vintage shopping daunting or ‘never find anything’.

From my experiences, here are some tips & tricks that may save you some exasperation and help you to have more of those euphoric, snagged it moments!


Dress for the hunt

Wear a flesh toned, smooth shaped bra and full-bum undies, with easy to take off and on separates.

You never know what you’ll find, so it’s best to be prepared with undergarments that will work with anything fitted, sheer, or delicate.

Vintage shows and pop up sales almost always have communal change rooms, or rather, a makeshift communal try on area with thin and flimsy curtains. If you’re comfortable shimmying your way into a body-con dress with your bum out in its full glory (been there), by all means werk that. I’m just giving you the facts!

Read the labels

Some stores and consigners have different definitions of antique, vintage, and retro.

I usually buy what appeals to me and fits, but if you’re a stickler on eras, inspect the typeface used on labels, read the washing instructions (dry cleaning hasn’t been around forever!), and look at the country of origin.

You may find tags with ‘Union Made’, meaning they were produced domestically before the outsourcing of production. But, just because an item was made overseas does not rule out the possibility that it is vintage; production in Japan became popular in the 60s, with Korea and Taiwan following in the 70s and 80s.

Try things on

Okay, this seems like a no-brainer, but I cannot stress this enough!

Some silhouettes that I intuitively would go for if found in a modern store come out looking busted in the change room, and a hot mess with no hanger appeal can often magically turn out to be a stunner.

Vintage clothes were cut in different shapes and use fabrics you may not be accustomed to wearing (think about it – Lycra® was first used in bathing suits in the 60s and didn’t really hit clothing until the 70s.)

Above all, do find pieces that make you smile and that you will wear!

Honey, find a good tailor!

Looking at old photos, you may wonder, how did these gals always manage to look flawless, when innovations in modern clothing should be making things easier!

Definitely going to attribute this one to tailoring. Many women were sewing their own patterns to specific measurements and if they had something store bought that didn’t fit, they mostly had the know how to cinch that shit up!

If you find the almost perfect item that is too wide through the body, too long in the arms or legs, or has some buttons you need moved, a tailor can handle that fancifully. I’ve had great luck with altering coats, tops, and pants.


Don’t have a closed mind

Do not dream up an impossibly chic and specific look and expect to find exactly what you’re looking for. This is not a bespoke situation so be prepared to do some digging.

Half the fun is in the find; sometimes you leave empty handed, and sometimes you’ll score big!

Developing your style may mean pushing outside of your comfort zone. I mean, not to get all T-Swift on you but being fearless and fashionable often go hand in hand.


I will not buy anything ripped, stained, or something that will lose its intrigue after being altered. You cannot expect vintage to be in pristine condition, but overly worn items are just not worth it.

I also will not buy anything with someone else’s monogram sewn in or vintage shoes as I’m a the higher the heels the better type of gal, but those are just my personal penchants!

Don’t get hung up on sizing

Unfortunately I find it can sometimes be hard to not get caught up in trying to fit into a number or a size; how many times have you read ‘it’s the clothes’ job to fit you!’ then flipped a few pages to see ‘are you bikini body ready?’. Not to go on a tangent about this societal contradiction, but sizing standards have changed drastically. Never be shy to ask a shop girl for help – they work in fashion – it’s their motivation to help their clients look and feel fabulous! I’ll never forget the first time I had my waist measured for a dress and wondered how it could possibly be that far off my hips! I blame the *shudder* low-rise jeans phase which haunts my high school past.

Again, here’s where the trying things on part comes in, as sizing can play tricks on us!

Don’t pass by!

Vintage items are of course in limited stock, and the good stuff won’t be around forever.

Unique (as in one of a kind, not as in a kind way to say ugly) pieces are snatched up fast but can also switch hands just as quickly, so become familiar with how often your go-to spot replenishes their offerings.

If you don’t believe in serendipity, you may just start. When you least expect it, you may find a multitude of to die for items, and when you’re really on a mission (and not on a budget), you may be met with a wall of no, no, no (not the Destiny’s Child type though since that’s not quite vintage).

Finally, don’t bring a friend who’s the same damn size as you unless you’re more diplomatic than I am (kidding – kind of).

Less talk, more shop, please.

The accessories department is a great place for the amateur to begin their endeavor into vintage chicdom. Embellished and metallic evening clutches are usually easy to find and in much better condition than other types of more frequent use purses on display. Statement jewellery is another fantastic way to start incorporating vintage into your everyday looks. Costume jewellery just feels that much more special when it’s vintage!

Shops to frequent in Ottawa & Toronto


Upside Dive on Queen east– hurry, they’re closing L

Common Sort – east and west end locations

Gadabouts – more pricey but they know their stuff up and down the block!

Absolutely Vintage Sale at Maple Cottage (twice annually with several vendors – cash only)

Bungalow & Flashback – both in Kensington Market

Act Two – uptown on Mount Pleasant


Young Janes – just outside the Byward Market

Ragtime Vintage clothing – Flora St in Centretown

For cities without a thriving vintage scene, you can always check out:

Antique stores and markets – they usually at the very least have jewellery

Estate sales – not to be morbid, but this can be a treasure trove

Online retailers

So there you have it. Thanks to ellepottsie for letting me go on, and I hope you’ll be inspired to seek out the thrill of the find!

Sarah serving (and drinking) Manhattan realness in a 70s sequined evening dress.

The 5’3 wonder herself giving us a whole lot of leopard in a bracelet length swing coat (the alterations cost me more than the actual coat!) with vintage bow and heart drop earrings .

Sarah having a major Mad Men Moment in a late 50s dress by Mr. Mort and vintage gloves.

Leave a comment

Product Review: Bumble and bumble Thickening Serum

Let me preface this post by saying that I really wanted to love this product.

I am always on the quest to find ways to get bigger hair since my locks are fine, flat, and sparse. I have tried many products promising to add volume and thickness to your limp strands, but in the end I’m always left disappointed.

I had read many positive reviews about Bumble and bumble Thickening Serum – I mean common on, it has REALLY written right on the product, it must work. At over $30 for a 1.7oz bottle, I was expecting big [literally] things.

Suggested use is one to two times daily depending on how thin your hair is to begin with.

I decided that I would only use the serum once a day, to be honest, I wanted to make it last. Maybe this wasn’t the best call since I do have very fine hair. The serum itself is extremely liquid – I find it hard to get it from your hands to your hair without losing all of the product. I tried to take a picture of the serum in my hand but I could barely keep it in my palm.

The serum is yellow. Not the nicest colour… Can you even see it?

Despite the texture [or lack of] of the serum, I managed to massage two to three pumps into my scalp almost daily for 4 months. I’ll let you be the judge of the results. I must also mention that my scalp feels more dry and itchy than ever since using the thickening serum regularly. So here it is – the big reveal!

This could also be an exercise is photography and lighting. Pardon the after shot – it was an early morning!

Honestly, I don’t see much of a difference. The only noticeable change between the two photos is the front of my hair – which I had styled in the before photo so it wouldn’t stick up. The after photo is what my hair looks like when it air dries.

I really wanted to love this product – but the lack of change in my hair over 4 months makes it impossible. I’m sorry Bumble and bumble – I wish I had better news – I don’t recommend the thickening serum at all. Over a 4 months period I noticed no difference at all in the look or texture of my locks – and to top it off I now have a dry and itchy scalp.

My advice for those of you who share the same flat hair troubles that I do. Learn to love sleek hair styles – you’ll be a lot happier with your mane.


Rainy Day Half-Moon Nail Tutorial

Something about the start of fall makes me crave rich and regal nail colours. Although you could follow this nail tutorial with any polish your heart desires, I chose a deep red [Sephora by OPI – Mr. Right Now] and my favourite gold [Quo by Orly – Filthy Rich] which you’ve seen before in my Easter nail tutorial.

Here is what you will need:

OPI Nail Envy Matte, Quo by Orly Filthy Rich, 3 ring binder reinforcements, Sephora by OPI Mr. Right Now, and essie good to go rapid dry top coat.

First you should prime your nails with a base coat. I use OPI Nail Envy [you can read my review here] because it helps strengthen my nails – and when you paint them as much as I do, they start to become weak.

Next paint your entire nail in the colour you want your half-moons to be – I chose gold.

Quo by Orly Filthy Rich

Make sure you allow this coat to dry completely. I use essie good to go [my favourite quick drying top coat – check out the review here, it is a life changer] to speed up the process – because I have absolutely NO patience.

Once you are sure the polish is dry, use binder reinforcements to cover the bottom part of your nail. It should look like this.

It is best to stick the reinforcements to your hand first so they lose a bit of their adhesion. This way you reduce the risk of ruining your base colour.

Now it’s time to move quickly. Paint one nail at a time with the deep red. Once you have painted the entire top part of your nail, remove the sticker immediately. This is so important – do not wait until it dries or it will not come off easily and your lines will not be clean. Make sure to tackle ONE nail at a time, don’t paint your entire hand and then try to remove the stickers.

Make sure to paint a thick enough coat of red to cover the gold as you will not be using two coats of polish.

Complete all of your nails in the same fashion and seal with a top coat – obviously my top coat of choice is essie good to go, but use whatever works best for you!

You should end up with something that looks like this:

Sephora by OPI Mr. Right Now and Quo by Orly Filthy Rich half-moons.

If you aren’t sold on the colour – here are two more options to consider.

OPI Schnapps Out of It with Quo by Orly Filthy Rich

Sephora by OPI Leotard Optional with Sephora by OPI and Betsey Johnson It’s My Pink


The possibilities are endless though – my next half-moon mani will probably be a dark green [think essie Stylenomics – which I am still trying to find in Ottawa] with a lighter green half-moon.

Try it out and send me the pictures. I’d love to see the colour combinations you choose!

Stay dry and have a great day!

Leave a comment

Meatless Monday: Gluten and Dairy Free Mac & Cheese!

Don’t worry, I know the title is a bit contradictory – but it really is gluten and dairy free mac & cheese… if you have an open mind. It doesn’t take exactly like cheese, but it is delicious, and pretty healthy!

I like to use zucchini noodles for this recipe, but I have also had success with brown rice pasta. If you are looking for comfort food, I would recommend using the gluten free pasta – or regular pasta if you can handle it!

Dairy and Gluten Free Mac & Cheese

Inspired by: http://detoxinista.com/2011/01/move-over-kraft/

Recipe serves about 4 people.

It looks kind of strange, but most gluten and dairy free food does.

What you will need:

For the cheese sauce:

1 1/2 cups raw cashews
3 T. fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 clove garlic
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. mustard (dijon or yellow)


zucchini (I use about 2 person if I am not cooking it – if I cook it I will use at least 3 per person) or pasta of your choice
paprika for garnish
green onion

Ingredients for the “cheese” sauce.

What to do:

Combine all of the “cheese” sauce ingredients into a high powered blender. If your blender isn’t very strong I would suggest soaking your cashews overnight to soften them. I skipped this step though because my magic bullet can handle the raw nuts.

Process in the blender until everything is completely mixed and you have a thick sauce.

Next you will need to use a spiral vegetable cutter to create your zucchini noodles- like the one I used here. It should look like this when you are finished [I used both green and yellow zucchini].

Zucchini Noodles

If you aren’t using zucchini, I would recommend starting the pasta before making the sauce.

Finally, roast the broccoli and onions, I usually use a bit of coconut oil and salt an pepper.

Now it’s easy – just combine all the parts [noodles, “cheese” sauce, and roasted veggies]. Top with paprika and enjoy.

Another option is to heat it in the oven at 350F for 30 minutes to warm the dish and create a crispy layer on the top. I enjoy both, however, if you are using pasta instead of zucchini, I would recommend using the oven method.

Try it out and let me know what you think! This is quite an easy recipe to make and it is really good!